Explore the Future of the Web

The Components of Sustainable Web Design

Tim Frick

The internet uses a lot of electricity: as much as 30 nuclear power plants or a small country like Sweden, by some estimates. Very little of this power—less than 15% in the U.S.—comes from clean or renewable sources. Meanwhile, web pages are six times the size they were ten years ago and require far more calls to external libraries, custom web fonts, social sharing widgets, and so on.

As products and services continue their mad dash to the online world, web designers have a huge opportunity to make a measurable difference in the web’s carbon footprint. As author Pete Markiewicz notes, “Design is where the environmental drag of the internet originates, and where it can be fixed.”

Design choices have a significant impact on how power-hungry a web page will be. We’ll discuss actionable steps for designing sustainable sites that perform well, use less energy, and offer better experiences for users now and in the future.

Topics covered:

  • The super-sized internet and its carbon footprint.
  • Intro to sustainable web design concepts.
  • Green Hosting: what it means, where to find it, etc.
  • Sustainable UX: concepts and techniques.
  • Findability and sustainability: content and design choices matter.
  • Performance optimization: faster sites, less energy.
  • What does the future of a sustainable web look like?